Velarization Linguistics translation jobs
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Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, velarization is transcribed by one of three diacritics:

Historical sound change
Lenition (weakening)
Sonorization (voicing)
Spirantization (assibilation)
Rhotacism (change of [z] to [r])
L-vocalization (change of [l] to [w])
Debuccalization (loss of place)
Elision (loss)
Apheresis (initial)
Syncope (medial)
Apocope (final)
Haplology (similar syllables)
Cluster reduction
Compensatory lengthening
Epenthesis (addition)
Anaptyxis (vowel)
Excrescence (consonant)
Prosthesis (initial)
Paragoge (final)
Vowel breaking
Palatalization (before front vowels)
Velarization (before back vowels)
Labialization (before rounded vowels)
Initial voicing (before a vowel)
Final devoicing (before silence)
Vowel harmony
Consonant harmony
Cheshirisation (trace remains)
Floating tone
Sandhi (boundary change)
Crasis (contraction)
Liaison, linking R
Consonant mutation
Tone sandhi
  1. A tilde or swung dash through the letter covers both velarization and pharyngealization, as in [ɫ] (the velarized equivalent of [l])
  2. A superscript gamma <ˠ> after the letter standing for the velarized consonant, as in [tˠ] (the velarized equivalent of [t])
  3. A superscript double-u <ʷ> indicates either simultaneous velarization and labialization, as in [sʷ], or labialization of a velar consonant, as in [kʷ].

Although electropalatographic studies have shown that there is a continuum of possible degrees of velarization,[1] the IPA offers no way to indicate degrees of velarization, for this difference has not been found to be contrastive in any language.

The velarized alveolar lateral approximant (or dark l) of many accents of English is an example of a velarized consonant.

In many languages, including Irish and Russian, velarized consonants contrast phonemically with palatalized consonants. The palatalized/velarized contrast is known by other names, especially in language pedagogy: in Irish language teaching, the terms slender (for palatalized) and broad (for velarized) are often used, while in Russian language teaching, the terms soft (for palatalized) and hard (for velarized) are usual. The terms light (for palatalized) and dark (for velarized) are also widespread. For many languages, velarization is generally associated with more dental articulations of coronal consonants so that dark l tends to be dental or dentoalveolar while clear l tends to be retracted to an alveolar position.[2]

In some accents of English, such as Received Pronunciation, the phoneme /l/ has "dark" and "light" allophones: the "dark" allophone appears in syllable coda position (e.g. in full), while the "light" allophone ("light" meaning "non-velarized" rather than "palatalized" here) appears in syllable onset position (e.g. in lawn). Other accents of English, such as Scottish English and Australian English, have "dark L" in all positions, while Hiberno-English has "clear L" in all positions.



  • Recasens, Daniel & Maria Dolores. Pallares (1995), "Velarization degree and coarticulatory resistance for /l/ in Catalan and German", Journal of Phonetics 23: 37-52
  • Recasens, Daniel & Aina Espinosa (2005), "Articulatory, positional and coarticulatory characteristics for clear /l/ and dark /l/: evidence from two Catalan dialects", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 (1): 1-25


Published - November 2008

Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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